Morfternight #63: Philosophy and Product Leadership

🤩 Welcome to the 7 new Morfternighters who joined us last week.
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📷 Photo of the week

Fallen Hero – More Photos

👋 Greetings Morfternighters!

Browsers haven’t changed much since the early days of the web.

I mean, the biggest difference between Netscape 2 and today’s browsers is probably the introduction of tabs. Sure, there may be more under the hood, but fundamentally, you search, click, and the browser shows you pages in one or multiple windows.

I’ve tried privacy-focused browsers like Brave and DuckDuckGo, but the web experience barely changes. That’s why I was intrigued to hear about Arc, a new Chromium-based browser claiming to offer a different experience.

If you’re ready for something new, give Arc a try!

I’ve been using it for the past few days and it’s been a game-changer. It’s not for the faint of heart, so if you’re attached to your habits, stick with your current browser. But if you’re open to trying something new, trust me, Arc will surprise you.

Act fast, though – there’s a waiting list and I only have an invitation for five people.

First come, first served: https://arc.net/gift/7237ac51

Click the link and if you’re one of the first five, you’ll be able to download and install Arc. Miss out this time? Don’t worry, I’ll share another invite next week.

It goes without saying that I have no affiliation of any sort with the developers, I am just enjoying their software.

🗺️ Three places to visit today

As I’ve previously shared, I’m incredibly excited about the new paths that the evolution of ML & AI have made available to us. But in the interest of balance, I want to address the negative aspects of these powerful tools.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Just like the invention of planes also brought about the risk of plane crashes, we must be cautious and mindful of the potential dangers of ML & AI.

  1. As AI technology continues to advance, Scientists Increasingly Can’t Explain How AI Works. This lack of transparency is a huge problem, particularly when these inscrutable algorithms are being used to make important decisions like hiring employees, providing medical treatments, or lending money. And without the ability to verify their biases, we could be opening the door to serious discrimination and injustice.
  2. Despite all the buzz and impressive achievements, AI’s current path may be a dead end that will never result in true intelligence. As Gary Marcus argues in What “game over” for the latest paradigm in AI might look like, the world may not have enough data to support the scaling of current models.
  3. As we all now have access to free tools that can be used to create images, build software, or write content, it’s important to consider how we will utilize them. Will we use them to create opportunities and continue to advance our skills, or will we let them replace the very work we’ve trained them on? @ryo-maybe’s explanation on Tumblr is particularly impactful and worth considering in this debate.

🧘 Philosophy and Product Leadership

With so much content vying for our attention, it’s easy to overlook a piece that might actually spark our interest.

But what if that initial spark was just random chance?

That’s what I found myself wondering after stumbling upon Julie Zhuo‘s article, The Blind Men, the Elephant, and the 3 Data Mistakes.

The reason I stopped scrolling to read it?

Well, I’m a fan of Hugh Brownstone’s Youtube channel, Three Blind Men and an Elephant. The channel is named after an old story about three blind men who come across an elephant for the first time, and each have a different perception of what it is based on the part they touch.

Zhuo uses this story as a parallel for teams using data and the mistakes she’s seen them make. If you haven’t read her article yet, give it a look. I think you’ll find it interesting.

I’ll be waiting here.

Somehow, by association of ideas, this reminded me of another parable, the one of the Glass Jar. Have you heard of it?

It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of prioritizing the big things in life.

Imagine an empty glass jar, filled with rocks, pebbles, and sand. If you start by filling the jar with sand, there won’t be any room left for anything else. But if you start with the bigger rocks, you’ll still be able to fit the pebbles and sand in there too.

The moral of the story? Don’t let the small things crowd out the big things that truly matter. Prioritize the rocks in your life, and the rest will fall into place.

I found that this also applies to teams building products.

When it comes to building successful products, prioritizing the most impactful projects (the rocks) is key. Not only does this ensure that the team will successfully deliver on those projects, but it also creates space for smaller projects (the pebbles) and maintenance tasks (the sand).

However, when a team is constantly in firefighter mode and reacting to emergencies, they will never be able to fit in the pebbles and rocks. All they can do is fill the jar with sand, leaving no room for anything else.

Critically, teams in firefighter mode often reject the idea of strong prioritization because they don’t see how they could do more than they are already doing.

There’s no adding rocks into a jar full of sand.



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